- Features In Common of the Best Portrait Lenses
- Canon RF Lenses
- Best Canon Camera Lens for Portraits - Good
- Best Canon Camera Lens for Portraits - Better
- Best Canon Camera Lens for Portraits - Best
- Best Prices for Canon RF Lenses
- Canon Portrait Lens Other Choices
- Excellent sharpness
- Pleasing out-of-focus highlights (Bokeh)
- Fast maximum aperture
- Short telephoto capabilities
- Canon EOS R5 vs EOS R6
- Check Out These Deals on MPB Camera Gear
- Why the Canon EOS R is a Great First Full Frame Camera
- Canon RF 100mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM
- Canon EF 85mm f/1.4 L IS USM
- Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM
- MPB Used Lenses: Good Options for DSLR and Mirrorless Bodies
- Four Used Canon RF Lenses to Consider
- The Best Canon EF Portrait Lenses
Photo by Mexico y mas via iStock
Photographers searching for the best Canon camera lens for portraits have several good options. You can find lenses in a range of prices, focal lengths, lens apertures, and intended formats, too.
To help you narrow your search, I’ve compiled a list of Canon portrait lenses in the mirrorless Full-Frame Canon RF lens mount rated good, better, and best.
Canon lenses are extraordinarily sharp, and in many focal lengths, they have the fastest maximum apertures in their focal range. But that doesn't always make it the best portrait lens. So, let’s explore a few features that make a lens good for portraiture! Let’s also have a look at the advantages of buying pre-owned lenses from an online platform like MPB.
Table of Contents:
Features In Common of the Best Portrait Lenses
Photo by alvarez via iStock
Portrait lenses have a few features in common, each of which are met by the best Canon camera lens for portraits:
We’ll take that last item first, since any focal length lens can be used for a portrait, depending on what you’re planning for the final image. That being said, the short telephoto range of lenses (70mm to 135mm in Full-Frame format) have some advantages for being the best portrait lenses.
They are often somewhat fast, lending themselves to selective techniques. They give a pleasing apparent perspective to faces without undue distortion. Their focal length characteristics help diminish background subjects when used with other portrait photography techniques as well.
Check out the YouTube video above - “Best Lens for Portrait Photography” from photographer Pablo Strong - for some more reasons to look at certain types of lenses as the best portrait lens.
Canon RF Lenses
Canon RF lenses are all excellent lenses. The new lens mount is designed primarily for Full-Frame format mirrorless cameras (though Canon released RF-S lenses earlier this year). It’s a wider diameter lens mount, so ultra-fast lenses can be made for it. Plus, the short flange distance means we can easily adapt other lens mounts to fit the Canon R series of cameras.
Since mirrorless Full Frame cameras are the norm for many serious photographers, I’ll focus on Canon RF lenses as my picks for the best Canon camera lens for portraits.
Best Canon Camera Lens for Portraits - A Good Option
Modern zoom lenses give amazing performance, especially those made as pro series lenses. The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L is the Good option for my best Canon Canon camera lens for portraits. It’s a pro series lens with weather sealing, excellent sharpness, and a fast maximum aperture. The short telephoto focal length at the long end of the zoom range is ideal for portraits.
Since this zoom also covers normal and moderate wide angle, it can be used for environmental portraits, group portraits, and full-length portraits, as well as the portrait standard of head and shoulders composition.
It’s not cheap (none of my best lenses lists ever are), but it’s not outrageously high-priced either. In fact, you can find a pre-owned version of this lens in Like New condition from MPB for under $2,300.00. That includes a six-month warranty!
Best Canon Camera Lens for Portraits - A Better Option
Surprise! Looking at the catalog of Canon lenses, you probably already saw this fantastic lens and pegged it as a sure thing for this Canon camera lens for portraits list.
The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L is most definitely a fantastic lens for portraits and for other types of photography. Since Canon R series cameras have such good low light performance, the f/1.2 maximum aperture can really open up some creative possibilities for more advanced photographers.
One of the best things about this superbly sharp pro-style lens is the fabulous Bokeh you can achieve with the faster apertures. Anywhere from f/1.2 to around f/4.0 or f/5.6 gives outstanding selective focus opportunities.
Plus, the Sweet Spot of a fast lens is still very fast. For instance, two or three stops down from maximum with this Canon portrait lens is still pretty fast at f/2.8 or f/4.0.
Pricing of this lens in Like New condition on the pre-owned market at MPB ranges from just under to just over $2,400.00. Again, this lens comes with MPB’s six-month warranty and the peace of mind that comes with MPB’s thorough inspection from a qualified product specialist. The grading system MPB has devised means you know exactly what condition the lens is in before you buy.
Best Canon Camera Lens for Portraits - The Best Option
I chose the Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM as the Best option in my best Canon camera lens for portraits list over the f/1.2 L series lens for two big reasons. First, it’s amazingly affordable, and second, it’s a macro lens!
Affordability is important for many photographers, including well-established professionals. Why? It’s simple - you want the maximum bang for your buck dedicated to photography equipment. You don’t want to drop dollars on something pricey when you can get the same or better out of something else.
Unless, of course, you just really need or want the extra features, quality, or benefits of the higher-priced gear. In that case, go for it! Even with that decision, you can save money by capitalizing on the fantastic benefits of used or pre-owned cameras and lenses from a reputable online platform such as MPB.
Back to the best Canon camera lens for portraits list…
The Canon RF 85mm f/2.0 Macro lens has a very fast maximum aperture of f/2.0, which allows for all sorts of selective focus techniques. Plus, it’s only 1 1/3rds stops removed from f/1.2, a fact that may come as a surprise considering the significant price difference between this and the f/1.2L option discussed earlier..
The macro focusing ability gets you all the way to ½ lifesize, or a ratio of 1:2 macro. This makes it a great choice for all-around photography. On top of all of that, you can find this lens in Like New condition for under $450 at MPB. Now that’s a great deal!
Best Prices for Canon RF Lenses
As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of getting new-to-me gear. As long as you choose a well-respected dealer, such as MPB, you can avoid the anxiety of getting taken by the seller (which rarely happens anyway, but I like the guarantees of MPB nonetheless).
Besides the price benefits of MPB, they offer a seven-day return window and the six-month warranty I spoke of earlier. These features are available on most items in MPB’s inventory.
You also get detailed condition reports on every item in their stock. As I mentioned earlier, these condition reports are made by qualified product specialists after a thorough examination of the item.
Might I suggest that you think about using MPB to sell or trade your own used cameras and lenses, too. Not only does this allow you to get rid of gear you no longer need, but the value you get from the trade-in will help offset the cost of a new-to-you Canon RF portrait lens.
Canon Portrait Lens Other Choices
Here is a short list of some other options for the best Canon camera lens for portraits that includes lenses for EF and EF-S mounts. Enjoy!